The Blind Assassin Margaret Atwood

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The Blind Assassin is a layered, multi genre story created by Margaret Atwood set in Port Ticonderoga, Canada throughout the 20th century. The two main characters are Iris and Laura Chase, the daughter of a rich war veteran who owns a button factory. The story itself is broken up into four subplots, all from the point of view of Iris, the eldest sister. The outermost story is of 80 year old Iris, her daily life, as she tells the second story of her family’s past, which hit on many of Atwood’s common themes such as power and gender roles. Interspersed between those chapters is the book supposedly written by Laura Case (although later revealed it was written by Iris as well), of two lovers meeting in secret and telling a science fiction story …show more content…
Laura’s death comes from a combination of factors; Richard Griffin, her father, her mother’s death, entrapment in wealth, Alex Thomas, and Iris. Atwood helps us identify her ‘assassin’ though the characterization of the blind assassin. Just before meeting the sacrificial girl, he thinks, “Who is to be assassinated and why is the business of the rich and powerful, and he hates them all equally… It means nothing to him that the same people who have made him blind have made her mute.” (p132) The blind assassin is not vengeful or angry towards the girl who has a slightly higher status than him, or care for the politics of wealth, but is apathetic in his need for self preservation. This points directly to Iris Chase as the blind assassin. Characters like Richard Griffin, her mother, and her father have not been victimized by wealth like the blind assassin has been, but rather other sources, such as war. Alex Thomas was my initial suspect for the blind assassin due to his relationship with Iris and Laura, but he is decidedly political, being a union activist and openly critiquing class in the story of Sakiel-Norn. Iris is the only character who has been ‘blinded’ by her duty to her family’s wealth.
Using these two characters to convey a story of economic inequality, it relays the message that even those who benefit from a laissez faire capitalist system are still sacrificed to keep the machine of wealth going, although it ends up to be in vain. By creating this multilayered story and the symbolic story of Sakiel-Norn, Atwood creates a rich critique on the 20th century’s issues, especially the dark side of

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